Ors, 4th November 1918, 05.45 hours: Second Lieutenant Wilfred Owen of the Manchester Regiment and his platoon launched an attack on a German position on the opposite bank of the Sambre-Oise canal. Under a hail of machine-gun fire, Wilfred Owen and 104 other men perished just one week before the signing of the armistice. One of the great names in modern poetry had fallen. 120 years after his birth, an audio-guided walk will take visitors in the footsteps of Wilfred Owen. Nord Tourism opens this walking trail and its associated interpretation panel on 2nd June 2013 along with Nord Pas de Calais tourism. Starting out from the Maison Forestière or Forester’s House opened in October 2011 and Simon Patterson’s work of art in his memory where he spent his last night, the trail passes through the woodlands of the Bois l’Evêque and the cemetery where he was laid to rest and on to the banks of the canal. An audio guided tour by Cambrai tourism office is also available free of charge. The 6 km trail (allow 1¾ hours) is also something of a nature walk taking in part of the woodland of the Bois l’Evêque and its history. The trail also speaks of the motivation of the mayor of Ors in paying to the poet, who was little known in France, the homage to which he is entitled.
The audio-guide traces the history of the British soldier-poet, who died in Ors at the age of 25 on the 4th of November 1918.
The highlight of the trail is the Maison Forestière or Forester’s House, an art work by Simon Patterson and starting point of the walk. This audio-guide enables visitors to understand the story of the battle and of the village of Ors, which suffered heavily in the fighting during the Great War.
The 6 km trail (allow 1¾ hours) is also something of a nature walk taking in part of the woodland of the Bois l’Evêque and its history as well as a walk along the Sambre-Oise canal, the site of the terrible battle which decimated Wilfred Owen’s battalion.
The audio-guide is available free of charge at the Maison Forestière, tel 03 27 84 54 83. It can be downloaded to smartphones from www.tourisme-cambresis.fr Available in French and English.
The Maison Forestière is open Monday to Saturday (except Tuesdays) from 10.00 to 13.00 and from 14.00 to 17.00. Open 1st Sunday of each month, 14.00 to 17.00.